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Interplay Responds To 'Absurd' Bethesda  Fallout  MMO Claims
Interplay Responds To 'Absurd' Bethesda Fallout MMO Claims
January 10, 2011 | By Kris Graft

January 10, 2011 | By Kris Graft
More: Console/PC

Developer Interplay filed a strongly-worded response to the latest claims made by Fallout IP owner Bethesda in an ongoing lawsuit involving Interplay's development of Fallout Online.

Last month, Bethesda claimed it licensed "one single asset" [emphasis Bethesda's] to Interplay, which was the "Fallout" trademark in connection with an MMO.

Bethesda contends that there is "no other license" included in the deal, and that any Fallout-branded MMO made by Interplay cannot feature any assets from the established Fallout universe, such as characters, settings or storylines.

A January 7 Interplay court filing -- obtained by Gamasutra -- argued against Bethesda's interpretation of the licensing and purchase agreements between the two companies.

"Bethesda's interpretation requires Interplay to develop and release an MMOG under the Fallout name, but unrelated to the Fallout brand," read Interplay's response to Bethesda's recent claims.

"First, this is not only absurd, but is specifically prohibited [emphasis Interplay's] by the agreement because Interplay was only granted a 'license and right to use the Licensed Marks on and in connection with its FALLOUT-branded MMOG ... and for no other purpose," the filing added.

"It was not the parties' intent that Interplay create, for example, an online baseball game or poker game called 'Fallout.'"

Interplay said that by divorcing the Fallout brand from its setting, characters and other recognizable assets, the studio would be "denied the fundamental benefit of using the trademark."

Interplay said Betheda's latest claims are "without merit," and asked the court for the opportunity to "present evidence to show the parties' intent with regard to the meaning of the term 'Fallout-branded MMOG,'" a term not clearly defined in the licensing agreement, Interplay alleged.

Interplay sold the Fallout series to Bethesda in 2007 for $5.75 million, and then Bethesda licensed rights to develop a Fallout MMO back to Interplay under certain conditions.

[Thanks to The Fallout Wiki Vault for the tip-off.]

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Sid Krishna
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Fighting like little children. At least that's how it sounds after reading the article. I hope there is more substance in the actual case.

Tim Carter
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Grievances must be aired. That's a foundation of any society with respect for the rule of law.

Aaron Truehitt
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Can't we all just be friends?

Christopher Braithwaite
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File this under, "No good deed goes unpunished." It sounds as if Bethesda wanted to honor Interplay for having developed such a valuable franchise and give them an opportunity to regain some glory. However Interplay had an abysmal track record for years before selling Fallout to Bethesda so I'm not sure what they expected when they licensed the property back to Interplay to create a MMOG.

Mark Venturelli
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Bethesda is probably worried about Interplay releasing an abysmal game with the Fallout brand. Which will probably happens, if this goes on like it has been going since last year.

Eric Geer
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I'm not sure you could get more abysmal than the glitch ridden New Vegas--loved the game--but hated having to struggle through the game ending tech issues.

Gregor Manby
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Hmmm, I was more in support of Bethesda in the case until I read this article. Clearly this latest development shows Bethesda being completely unreasonable in their attempts to get the rights to a Fallout MMO back from Interplay. From a players perspective, I have to say I'd have much more faith in a Bethesda developed Fallout MMO than an Interplay one, but that doesn't justify legal proceedings like these.

Dave Sodee
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Why would Interplay ever want Fallout ip without any Fallout stuff. What the heck is that anyhow?? Bethesda needs to just honor the contract as the Fallout ip they purchased was a grand purchase and the deal was let them make a mmo in the Fallout lands...who needs another mmo half baked ...buggy Interplay title. The glory was misused in that company long ago...and the talent has long been gone.

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I believe that as the couch jury we should probably hold our accusations/support of one side or another until all the facts are on the table, and not let fanboyism get in the way.

Christopher Enderle
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Can "all the facts" be found somewhere? Are all documents/evidence/etc. public domain? If it's not we'll just have to go with whatever the verdict of this case is, but since that might be years away I can't help but personally feel that Bethesda isn't playing very nice and I'd imagine that anyone that will ever deal with the company in the future (as a partner, employee, CEO, whatever) will be sure to have every single word in a contract defined in absurd detail just to guard against this kind of absurd technical legalese hair splitting.

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Go on either this site or They have the court hearings typed out, along with confirmed facts.

George Petras
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@Christopher Braithwaite: Agreed. I would guess after the success of Fallout 3, Bethesda decided they wanted no competition and are trying to narrow the licensing agreement through the use of lots of lawyers . :) I would think they will lose and that Interplay will be allowed to make a recognizable Fallout MMO.

You can't be sure, though -- if the contract's language was very narrowly written, the judge might say to Interplay "tough luck, you had a lawyer who screwed up."

Radek Koncewicz
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Well, Interplay's lawyers might've dropped the ball here, but it seems like Bethesda is overreaching their claim. Didn't Bethesda already lose a case wherein Interplay was allowed to release the original Fallout games as their own? And didn't Interplay release some Fallout MMO media months and months ago, only to be questioned now?

Obviously I'm not aware of the details, but Bethesda's actions appear to have the goal of sabotaging Interplay's MMO via legal delays and fees, possibly crippling its development regardless of how the case(s) turn out.

Josh Foreman
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Yeah, from what I can tell it sounds like Bethesda is being silly. Whatever the contract may say in the little details, OBVIOUSLY it was the intent that Interplay get to make a Fallout MMO, not a game called Fallout. That being said, the chances of them making a good or successfully one is slim to none. And I could understand why Bethesda wouldn't want a prime IP to take a hit like that. But still, shouldn't they as a company have the fortitude of character to keep their agreements?